How to Prepare Freezer Meals

Cook once and eat many times by stockpiling pre-prepared main meals and side dishes in the freezer.

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Ill-assorted margarine tubs and gaping plastic containers are for amateurs and they won’t protect your frozen assets from spoilage and freezer burn. Invest in three or four same-sized oven-safe casserole dishes. Is it beef stew tonight? Spritz the dishes with pan spray, and line with a sheet of foil long enough to wrap completely around the food. Spray the foil, too, then ladle in the stew. Gently tuck the foil up over the food. Freeze overnight, and then release the foil from the dish. Wrap, label and freeze in freezer bags. To use, pop a foil-wrapped package into the casserole dish, thaw and reheat. Simple!

Label, Label, Label!

An efficient freezer cook has assembled labeling supplies before he or she begins. Tuck a slip of paper with the name of the dish, cooking directions, today’s date and a use-by date to tell you how long to freeze the item between the foil-wrapped package and freezer bag. Better, use a permanent marker pen to label freezer bags. Computer-savvy cooks can print computer address labels for easy labeling of frozen foods.

Track Inventory

“Out of sight, out of mind” defeats many would-be freezer cooks. Introduce inventory control with a whiteboard. Adding three dinners’ worth of macaroni and cheese to your freezer hoard? Write ‘em in. Visiting family has you drawing heavily on your inventory? Erase each meal as you use it. A small magnet-mounted whiteboard can be placed on the freezer door to track frozen assets.

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Excerpted from Houseworks, by Cynthia Townley Ewer

Text Copyright © 2006, 2010, Cynthia Townley Ewer, extracts from Houseworks, reproduced with permission from Dorling Kindersley Limited

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